Wednesday, March 18, 2009


KU stats reveal youth



KU vs. North Dakota State

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Complete coverage of KU's first NCAA matchup of 2009.

Walt Michaels, once the coach of the New York Jets, didn’t help his job security by using a most insensitive analogy about statistics. It certainly is neither worth repeating nor even googling, and he deserved the consequences of his poor judgment, but his basic premise, that numbers can be twisted, was accurate.

Still, that doesn’t mean they don’t have value. Stats can reveal vulnerabilities.

Consider some figures and what they might say about the young Kansas University basketball team as it prepares for an NCAA Tournament that for it begins Friday morning in Minneapolis.

• Statistic No. 1: Sherron Collins has made 42 percent of his three-point shots in victories, 26 percent in losses.

What it says: When Kansas falls behind, Collins tries to bring back the team by himself and teammates often appear too willing to let him.

• Statistic No. 2: When Cole Aldrich attempts at least 10 field goals, Kansas is 10-1.

What it says: Getting the ball to Aldrich in a position where he can score and/or draw a foul is KU’s best path to victory. Sometimes, the opposing defense dictates where the ball goes. Other times, the guards don’t show enough skill and/or patience to feed the post consistently.

A couple of days after the Baylor loss, freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor said: “We were watching film and coach showed us a stretch where (Aldrich) caught the ball at 19:48 and then he caught the ball again with like nine minutes left in the game. So he had only like two or three touches in the second half on the block. ... We have to get better at finding him.”

• Statistic No. 3: Despite going 25-7, Kansas has more turnovers (14.6 per game) than opponents (13.8).

What it says: The Jayhawks are not particularly skilled passers. It also highlights that Kansas does not have a single pure point guard on the roster.

• Statistic No. 4: Kansas went 18-0 in Allen Fieldhouse, 7-7 outside of Lawrence.

What it says: The younger the team, the more it tends to miss the comfortable home surroundings and extra energy a rabid crowd lends, especially in a building as intimate as Allen Fieldhouse.

• Statistic No. 5: Collins makes 46 percent of his field goal attempts in Allen Fieldhouse, 37 percent in other buildings.

What it says: As Collins goes, so go the Jayhawks is the obvious conclusion, but it might say even more. When the team plays in less-comfortable surroundings, Collins seems more protective of young players, more conscious of leading them out of the wilderness. When that happens, he tends to take on too much responsibility and shoot too often.

Statistics don’t reveal everything.

No pain meter tracks how much Aldrich’s stress-reaction injury in his left foot slows him. He and everyone else in the program downplays the impact of it, yet he hasn’t been running the floor the same. If a week of rest can restore Aldrich to normal and Collins can make good decisions and hit shots, Kansas can make a long run. If Aldrich’s mobility is restricted, the ball doesn’t come to him, and Collins isn’t hitting, it figures to be a quick tournament for the Jayhawks.


KEITHMILES05 10 years, 11 months ago



b_asinbeer 10 years, 11 months ago

It wasn't a crappy article. Stop nitpicking everything. He was giving interesting information, much of it I had a hunch on, but solidified with real numbers.

Aldrich touching the ball in a game which leads to more victories does not highlight failure.

When Collins plays under control, we win...pointing that out is not failure.

Statistics on turnovers and field goal % on the road are the realities of a young team. This just shows that we have a young team. That's all.

I was impartial with the article to tell you the truth, but it's not something shameful. Just reality.

In the meantime, Rock Chalk! I have faith that we will reach at least the elite 8 this year!

Robert Brock 10 years, 11 months ago

"...not a single point guard on the roster."

Good reason in future to recruit Ray McAllum...

shannyvan1 10 years, 11 months ago

I would hesitate to criticize this article. Keegan has nailed it.

exiledhawkfan 10 years, 11 months ago

Keith, your assessment means a lot, given the fact I'm sure you're a Pulitzer prize winner yourself. "Crappy" is such a sophisticated and descriptive analysis...actually it appears you didn't even read the article. It was actually an informative and fair assessment of some raw statistics.

TKELuke 10 years, 11 months ago

I hope Collins gets a chance to read this.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 11 months ago

This dude will jump onto the bandwagon when KU whips NDSU!

d_prowess 10 years, 11 months ago

I don't think I agree completely with the evaluation of stat 1. While he definitely does seem to try to take the game on his back when we are losing, I don't think those extra, end of game, shots are what then brings down his percentage from three.
Instead think the stat is more of an indication that Collins is not hitting from behind the arc all game, and when that happens, we lose! If he is off, the D can play off him more which limits his ability to drive and allows the D to sag and clog up some of the passing lanes needed to get the ball inside to Cole.

d_prowess 10 years, 11 months ago

I do agree with Keegan that Collins does take the game on his back at times and other players let him. Which is exactly why this team must have one of the new recruits come in next year that is a playmaker. Even if Cole and Collins are back (which i think they both will be), there needs to be someone else on the floor besides Sherron that wants the ball in crunch time! Despite the maturation of the twins and Taylor, I think they will always be great supporting players (maybe someday even NBA quality) and never "I need the ball to win" guys. And despite Collins having that attitude, he is not consistent enough to be that guy, especially to be the only one!

KirkwoodHawk 10 years, 11 months ago

I agree with Prowess, the conclusion from stat 1 is that when Collins hits 3s we win. He is carrying us on his back whether we are ahead or behind. As far as conclusion number 5, I don't know if it as much that he sees it as protecting them, as much as he sees it has his resposibility as the team leader. Maybe what he still needs to learn as a team leader, is that getting the ball to the right people is just as important, if not more important, than trying to bring the team back with 3s. Be an example of making good passes into the post, or driving to draw the defense and then dishing, instead of just standing out on the 3 pt line passing the ball around the perimeter.

MichaelC 10 years, 11 months ago

Has anyone tried to track down the Walt Michaels quote Keegan referred to? I know he said it wasn't worth googling - perhaps that was because it isn't very easy to find. Inquiring minds want to know....or at least one inquiring mind.

chazzychef 10 years, 11 months ago

Regarding the Walt Michaels quote - I think Keegan was referring to this gem (not verbatim): "Statistics are like loose women. Once you get them you can do whatever you want with them."

MichaelC 10 years, 11 months ago

Ah - I can see why that didn't make it into the article. Thanks

plotku 10 years, 11 months ago

Heck that is a good quote. I think the 3 pt % has fallen for Collins down the stretch here based on the fact that his shot selection hasn't been as good. He has basically decided to not pass the ball into post. And has decided to just basically become a one man show. So what if you pass the ball into Cole and he gets double teamed. So what. At least then we can pass out of the double to a better shot. These last few games there have been far to many possesions with Sheron handling the ball on his own, and just pulling up from 3 with a hand in his face. When Sheron takes a 3 that is within the realm of our offense, and comes after ball movement, he hits them at a very high percentage.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 11 months ago

Awesome quote, I'm glad I didn't have to google that. Nice article, I think we all knew that when we have issues they center around Cole and especially Collins, but the stats confirm that very well. The 7-7 outside AFH is what is worrying me right now.

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